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Does a Rotten Egg Smell Make Water Unsafe to Drink?

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The other day we heard from 'Thelma D' who asked, " Does a rotten egg smell in our water make it unsafe to drink?"

As a general rule, when water sample has a rotten egg smell to it the odor comes from dissolved  hydrogen sulfide gas... which aside from the fact it stinks quite badly, poses no real threat to human health unless allowed to build up to very high levels in confined spaces.  A less common source of rotten egg smell involves contamination/pollution of a water source by raw sewage so we suggest testing for coliform bacteria if water -- particularly well water -- suddenly develops a rotten egg smell.

Working on the assumption that sewage has not infiltrated the water source, a major source of dissolved hydrogen sulfide gas involves anaerobic bacteria that generate the gas through interaction with sulfur and various metals.  The reaction may occur naturally in the environment and in hot water heaters.

Can you test for hydrogen sulfide? Usually a person's nose will tell them all they need to know for presence/absence testing but when considering water treatment options one needs to know how much hydrogen sulfide their water contains so they do not purchase too large or small of a water treatment system.

Coliform Bacteria Test
Coliform Bacteria Test
Hydrogen Sulfide Test
Hydrogen Sulfide Test
Heavy Metals Test
Heavy Metals Test

Hydrogen Sulfide Confirmed... Now What?

Water testing has confirmed the presence of hydrogen sulfide in your water and now you want it gone.   To effectively reduce hydrogen sulfide concentrations in drinking water we suggest considering one of the Crystal Quest Iron and Hydrogen Sulfide Whole House Water Treatment Systems that make use of custom blended filtration media formulated from glauconite green sand that effectively removes iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide (sulfur smell) rotten egg odor sometimes found in water.

The Crystal Quest Iron and Hydrogen Sulfide Whole House Water Treatment Systems come in several sizes depending upon the iron concentration in raw (source) water and the number of faucets, toilets, etc. in a home.

CQE-WH-01195 - Iron, Hydrogen Sulfide and Manganese Whole House Water Filter